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Why "Immaterial Pink Unicorns" are not a logical argument

Author Topic:   Why "Immaterial Pink Unicorns" are not a logical argument
bluegenes
Member (Idle past 2607 days)
Posts: 3119
From: U.K.
Joined: 01-24-2007

 Message 31 of 304 (499937) 02-21-2009 12:29 PM Reply to: Message 30 by RAZD02-21-2009 12:16 PM

Re: Topic Focus
RAZD writes:
The logical extrapolation of a flawed argument is still a flawed argument. Thus the first issue, the one this thread is designed to answer, is whether or not you can show that:
C is an example of A
D is an example of A
Therefore C = D
Is not a logically flawed argument.
What has your thread title to do with that? Why should people using the IPU in argument want to defend your strawman? Who has suggested that your god is a unicorn?

 This message is a reply to: Message 30 by RAZD, posted 02-21-2009 12:16 PM RAZD has seen this message but not replied

mark24
Member (Idle past 5325 days)
Posts: 3857
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 Message 32 of 304 (499939) 02-21-2009 12:45 PM Reply to: Message 30 by RAZD02-21-2009 12:16 PM

Re: Topic Focus
RAZD,
C is an example of A
D is an example of A
Therefore C = D
Is not a logically flawed argument.
Strawman. That isn't the argument I'm making.
C is an example of A
D is an example of A
Therefore C = D
NO!
C is an example of A
D is an example of A
That's it.
They are both examples of evidentially vacuous positions (A), they are not the "same", even though they share the same relevent property. They are not "each other" they are different statements.
Mark

There are 10 kinds of people in this world; those that understand binary, & those that don't

 This message is a reply to: Message 30 by RAZD, posted 02-21-2009 12:16 PM RAZD has replied

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RAZD
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From: the other end of the sidewalk
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 Message 33 of 304 (499944) 02-21-2009 2:06 PM Reply to: Message 32 by mark2402-21-2009 12:45 PM

C =?≠ D
Thanks Mark
NO!
C is an example of A
D is an example of A
That's it.
They are both examples of evidentially vacuous positions (A), they are not the "same", even though they share the same relevent property. They are not "each other" they are different statements.
I'll leave the discussion of what are "evidentially vacuous positions" for another thread.
So, if I understand you, one argument (D) cannot be logically used to argue against the other (C), purely on the basis of both being an example of A, where A is the list of all possible concepts for which there is no (current) evidence pro or con to the concept.
Thanks. I do agree with that.
Enjoy.
ps - went back and read your edit of your previous post. What I see is change to a position of uncertainty on the possibility of alien life, with a slight bias towards alien life being highly unlikely.
Edited by RAZD, : ps

we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
Rebel American Zen Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.

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Rrhain
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 Message 34 of 304 (499950) 02-21-2009 3:02 PM Reply to: Message 7 by RAZD02-21-2009 8:13 AM

RAZD responds to me:
quote:
quote:
I would say that your foundational statement is in error. What you seem to be saying in your example is that:
B !-> A
C !-> A
Therefore, C = B.
That isn't true. Squares are not circles. Triangles are not circles. But squares are not triangles, either.
A triangle is a multi-sided geometric forms
All rectangles are multi-sided geometric forms
Therefore, a triangle is a square.
That isn't the example I gave. My example used negation and you cannot simply delete that. Your example didn't. "B -> A" is not the same kind of statement as "B !-> A." "A square is a rectangle" is not the same kind of statement as "A square is not a circle."
The fact that your example isn't true and my example isn't true doesn't mean they're the same thing. In fact, by pointing out this second fallacy, you're proving my point:
B !-> A
C !-> A
Therefore, C = B.
That isn't true. My statement wasn't true; your statement wasn't true; that doesn't mean you and I said the same thing.
quote:
But the real comparison is that
C is an example of A
D is an example of A
Therefore C = D
And you cannot logically say that C = D or C D because you don't know. Thanks.
Don't confuse equality with identity. C and D are equal because they are both A. They may have traits that distinguish them, but those traits are not related to what makes them A. In essence, they are "equal in the eyes of A," but they are not identical.
Indeed, circles of different radii are not the same circle, but they are both circles and as such, behave as all circles do. Anything that would affect the general circle would affect all specific circles.
Thus, it would seem that your defining characteristic (the "A") is not "is a circle." Instead, it is something like "is a circle of radius 4."
It seems to me that your hesitation in treating "god" and "the IPU (BBHH)" the same is that there is some quality about "god" that is not part of "the IPU (BBHH)" but which you haven't mentioned. That is, those who are equating them are talking about "circles" while you're talking about "circles of radius 4" but haven't mentioned that extra trait.

Rrhain

Thank you for your submission to Science. Your paper was reviewed by a jury of seventh graders so that they could look for balance and to allow them to make up their own minds. We are sorry to say that they found your paper "bogus," specifically describing the section on the laboratory work "boring." We regret that we will be unable to publish your work at this time.

 This message is a reply to: Message 7 by RAZD, posted 02-21-2009 8:13 AM RAZD has replied

 Replies to this message: Message 35 by lyx2no, posted 02-21-2009 3:06 PM Rrhain has replied Message 37 by RAZD, posted 02-21-2009 3:55 PM Rrhain has not replied Message 52 by shalamabobbi, posted 02-21-2009 10:56 PM Rrhain has replied

lyx2no
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Posts: 1277
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 Message 35 of 304 (499951) 02-21-2009 3:06 PM Reply to: Message 34 by Rrhain02-21-2009 3:02 PM

Totorial
Do you have a site where I can see what "B!->A" Means. I can figure out half of it myself but only half. Thanks.

Genesis 2
17 But of the ponderosa pine, thou shalt not eat of it; for in the day that thou shinniest thereof thou shalt sorely learn of thy nakedness.
18 And we all live happily ever after.

 This message is a reply to: Message 34 by Rrhain, posted 02-21-2009 3:02 PM Rrhain has replied

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Rrhain
Member (Idle past 137 days)
Posts: 6351
From: San Diego, CA, USA
Joined: 05-03-2003

 Message 36 of 304 (499952) 02-21-2009 3:36 PM Reply to: Message 10 by RAZD02-21-2009 8:39 AM

RAZD writes:
quote:
It seems you agree that this is a reasonable position, even though there is no convincing evidence of alien life, and that it is reasonable even though we may never see convincing evidence of alien life.
You're missing an important point though: If an event can happen once, then that is evidence that it can happen. In and of itself, it is not evidence that it has happened more than once (the conditions that resulted in the event may not have occurred again), but it is evidence that it is capable of happening.
This is different from saying that something is conceivable even though we have no examples of it ever happening.
That is, the former is working backwards: Event X happened, therefore there must be some set of circumstances A, B, and C (which we may not know what they are) that resulted in X happening. Given the vast size and, for lack of a better term, "possibility space" of the universe, it is conceivable that X has happened a second time.
Your position seems to be working forwards: It is conceivable that circumstances A, B, and C (which we may not know what they are) occurred and thus event X happened.
Those are not the same processes and the latter is not supportable. That something is conceivable is not sufficient to draw a conclusion off of.
It's one of the caveats of proof by induction. There are two steps in an inductive proof: You have to prove it for a specific n and you also have to prove that if it is true for n, then it is true for n + 1. You must do both steps. It does us no good to show that if it is true for n then it is also true for n + 1 if we can never find an n for which it is true in the first place.
quote:
The question oncerns whether they had evidence when the hypothesis was first formed, not whether or not we have evidence now.
You're ascribing too much to what the hypothesis was, though. That is, clearly the rotations of the galaxies were not what would be expected from gravitational action given the amount of visible matter in the galaxy. That's simply observation. With no evidence that gravity is at fault, then we must conclude that there is something else in the galaxy. Since we do not have that telepathy thing worked out yet, we have to use words and the word that was coined for the something was "dark matter." At that point, the only definition of it was, "Whatever it is that makes the galaxies spin the way they do."
That's it. Not very impressive of a definition, but clearly something is making the galaxies spin. The claim of "dark matter" didn't come before the observation. It came after. We already had the evidence for its existence which is why we came up with a term for it.

Rrhain

Thank you for your submission to Science. Your paper was reviewed by a jury of seventh graders so that they could look for balance and to allow them to make up their own minds. We are sorry to say that they found your paper "bogus," specifically describing the section on the laboratory work "boring." We regret that we will be unable to publish your work at this time.

 This message is a reply to: Message 10 by RAZD, posted 02-21-2009 8:39 AM RAZD has seen this message but not replied

RAZD
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Posts: 20714
From: the other end of the sidewalk
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 Message 37 of 304 (499953) 02-21-2009 3:55 PM Reply to: Message 34 by Rrhain02-21-2009 3:02 PM

Thanks Rrhain,
That isn't the example I gave. My example used negation and you cannot simply delete that.
That's what I thought, however then it does not represent what I said.
Don't confuse equality with identity.
Correct, identity would technically be 3 bars, ≡, (all A is B and all B is A ∴ A≡B), where I often use == for simplicity.
Enjoy.
ps I use "C = D" to mean C is like D rather than C is identical to D, as in All A is B (All A = B) does not mean that A is identical to B (A==B)
Edited by RAZD, : ps

we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
Rebel American Zen Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.

• • • Join the effort to solve medical problems, AIDS/HIV, Cancer and more with Team EvC! (click) • • •

 This message is a reply to: Message 34 by Rrhain, posted 02-21-2009 3:02 PM Rrhain has not replied

Rrhain
Member (Idle past 137 days)
Posts: 6351
From: San Diego, CA, USA
Joined: 05-03-2003

 Message 38 of 304 (499955) 02-21-2009 3:58 PM Reply to: Message 13 by RAZD02-21-2009 9:09 AM

RAZD writes:
quote:
C is an example of A
D is an (intentionally absurd unbelievable) example of A
E is a (believable) example of A
Therefore C = D but not E
No, not quite. The point is that A is absurd in and of itself. Therefore, anything that is A is absurd. It doesn't matter that C, D, and E are not identical. The fact that they are all A means they share all the traits of A, including absurdity. The claim that E is not absurd is the logical error of "special pleading."

Rrhain

Thank you for your submission to Science. Your paper was reviewed by a jury of seventh graders so that they could look for balance and to allow them to make up their own minds. We are sorry to say that they found your paper "bogus," specifically describing the section on the laboratory work "boring." We regret that we will be unable to publish your work at this time.

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Rrhain
Member (Idle past 137 days)
Posts: 6351
From: San Diego, CA, USA
Joined: 05-03-2003

 Message 39 of 304 (499956) 02-21-2009 4:18 PM Reply to: Message 14 by RAZD02-21-2009 9:19 AM

RAZD writes:
quote:
The argument is
C is an example of A
D is an example of A
Therefore C = D
And this is a logically flawed argument.
Huh? A = B and B = C, therefore A != C? Equality is transitive. If C and D are both examples of A, then they are equivalent in the sense that they share the same traits defined by A.
Again, you are trying to impose identity when we're only talking about equality.
I know you don't want to go with the specifics, but I think it is helpful so that you can see where the issue lies.
You are saying that deism is a "without evidence" trait that is "believable" while others are pointing out that "without evidence" necessarily includes "unbelievable" as a trait. Thus, if both deism and the IPU (BBHH) both require "without evidence" steps, then deism necessarily becomes "unbelievable."
In short, you are trying to engage in the logical error of "special pleading."

Rrhain

Thank you for your submission to Science. Your paper was reviewed by a jury of seventh graders so that they could look for balance and to allow them to make up their own minds. We are sorry to say that they found your paper "bogus," specifically describing the section on the laboratory work "boring." We regret that we will be unable to publish your work at this time.

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Straggler
Member (Idle past 195 days)
Posts: 10333
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006

 (1)
 Message 40 of 304 (499957) 02-21-2009 4:20 PM Reply to: Message 13 by RAZD02-21-2009 9:09 AM

Straggler writes:
There is no direct evidence of alien life. But there is not a vacuum of evidence regarding this question. There are a whole host of rational reasons to believe that life on other planets elsewhere in the universe is possible and even likely.
It seems you agree that this is a reasonable position, even though there is no convincing evidence of alien life, and that it is reasonable even though we may never see convincing evidence of alien life.
Yes. Based on the evidence that do have regarding life and the nature of the universe.
Straggler writes:
But in general if you don’t want to be faced with absurd examples then simply don’t base your whole position on a logical argument that fails to preclude logical conclusions that you will find absurd.
The issue is that what you are saying is:
C is an example of A
D is an (intentionally absurd unbelievable) example of A
E is a (believable) example of A
Therefore C = D but not E
This is still a logically flawed argument, and all you have is your preconceived ideas of what is reasonable to believe, and what is not, within the bounds of (all A).
I am crap at thinking in terms of A, B, C and D so lets break this down into something that anyone can understand.
If we knew that the universe consisted only of the Sun the moon and the planet Earth we could be all but certain that the possibility that alien life existing has been eliminated.
If the universe consisted only of the solar system as we know it, then given what we know about the chemistry and biology of life, the chances of alien life would be better, but still arguably very slim.
If we expand our universe to be the Milky Way galaxy then we increase the chances of alien life existing significantly.
If we factor in the evidence that we actually have for the size of the universe as we know it to be today then the chances of alien life increase enormously. Arguably to the point of very likely.
Now nowehere in here have we changed the fact that there is a complete absence of evidence for actual alien life. All we have done is change related parameters that affect probability.
Are you saying that in the absence of direct evidence such parameters have no effect on the plausibility of alien life actually existing?
If you are not saying this then:
Please explain how your strict logical argument deals with these changes in relative likelihood despite there being no more or less direct evidence in any particular case above
I don't think you can.
Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.
Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.

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Rrhain
Member (Idle past 137 days)
Posts: 6351
From: San Diego, CA, USA
Joined: 05-03-2003

 Message 41 of 304 (499958) 02-21-2009 4:25 PM Reply to: Message 16 by RAZD02-21-2009 9:35 AM

RAZD writes:
quote:
... and we can both agree that "E is a (believable) example of A" ...
No, we can't. A includes as one of its traits the property of being unbelievable. Therefore, if E is A, then E is unbelievable.
You are engaging in the logical error of "special pleading."

Rrhain

Thank you for your submission to Science. Your paper was reviewed by a jury of seventh graders so that they could look for balance and to allow them to make up their own minds. We are sorry to say that they found your paper "bogus," specifically describing the section on the laboratory work "boring." We regret that we will be unable to publish your work at this time.

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CosmicChimp
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 Message 42 of 304 (499959) 02-21-2009 4:27 PM Reply to: Message 30 by RAZD02-21-2009 12:16 PM

Re: Topic Focus
Greetings RAZD,
The first issue is not a point of contention really. Any idiot with a few years of basic schooling can see that the argument is flawed. The idea that I'm getting after reading all of the posts so far, is the second issue, your application of the syllogism. I instinctively can see that it is a strawman but am still collecting my ideas about exactly why.
{ABE}In posts 38 and 39, Rrhain has wrapped up any ambiguity I was having in a way I think would have never dawned upon me otherwise.
Edited by CosmicChimp, : post economy

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Straggler
Member (Idle past 195 days)
Posts: 10333
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006

 (1)
 Message 43 of 304 (499960) 02-21-2009 4:28 PM Reply to: Message 16 by RAZD02-21-2009 9:35 AM

Straggler writes:
Yes. By logical extrapolation of the evidence that we do have.
Your relentless insistence that all claims for which there is no direct evidence operate in a vacuumm of ALL evidence is just bizzarre.
Thus the difference between "C is an example of A" and "D is an example of A" is based on what we consider reasonable extrapolation of what evidence we do have to support "C" or "D" and not on the form of the argument:
C is an example of A
D is an example of A
Therefore C = D
This difference is subjective opinion based on our world view, so while we can both agree that "D is an (intentionally absurd unbelievable) example of A" ...
... and we can both agree that "E is a (believable) example of A" ...
... we can disagree on whether "C is an example of A" is believable or unbelievable, and the relative position of either of us is not based on the argument:
C is an example of A
D is an example of A
Therefore C = D
As far as I can tell this logical argument fails to incorporate any notion of relative likelihood. Relative likelihood based on indirect, but nevertheless objective and indisputably relevant, factors that have nothing to do with world view.
For example if we have evidence that there are billions of planets on which life as we know it could arise then that obviously makes it more likely that alien life exists than if we have evidence telling us that there are no other planets in the universe at all.
Your strict logical argument seems completely unable to take account of such factors. Thus it is completely inadequate.
Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.

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 Replies to this message: Message 46 by bluegenes, posted 02-21-2009 6:07 PM Straggler has replied

Rrhain
Member (Idle past 137 days)
Posts: 6351
From: San Diego, CA, USA
Joined: 05-03-2003

 Message 44 of 304 (499967) 02-21-2009 5:06 PM Reply to: Message 35 by lyx2no02-21-2009 3:06 PM

lyx2no responds to me:
quote:
Do you have a site where I can see what "B!->A" Means. I can figure out half of it myself but only half. Thanks.
It's standard mathematical logic. "->" means "implies." Thus, "A -> B" mean "A implies B."
All squares are rectangles. If an object is a square, then that implies that it is a rectangle. Thus, if we have "A" being "an object is a square" and "B" being "an object is a rectangle," then we can say, "A -> B."
"!" is computer science notation for negation (at least in the programming language known as "C"). In formal logic, "~" is more commonly used (and "" is even more "correct" but that isn't on the keyboard so "~" is fairly common), but "~->" is more difficult to visually distinguish as "does not imply" than "!->" so I used "!" instead.
Thus, "B !-> A" means "B does not imply A."
If an object is a square, it does not imply that it is a circle.
Implication is one of the many actions of logic and is one way to symbolically describe the "if/then" relationship. "If A, then B" is the same as saying "A implies B." Some common statements regarding implication:
A -> B
~B -> ~A
This is a true statement. Being a square implies being a rectangle. But not being a rectangle implies not being a square. This is the logical concept of the "contrapositive." The contrapositive is where you take an implication, reverse the terms, and negate both. The contrapositive of a true statement is a true statement.
Thus, if B doesn't imply A ("B !-> A") and C doesn't imply A ("C !-> A"), then it doesn't necessarily follow that B and C are equal. Being a triangle doesn't imply being a circle and being a square doesn't imply being a circle, but the fact that neither implies being a circle doesn't mean a square and a triangle are the same. The only thing they share is the property of not being a circle.

Rrhain

Thank you for your submission to Science. Your paper was reviewed by a jury of seventh graders so that they could look for balance and to allow them to make up their own minds. We are sorry to say that they found your paper "bogus," specifically describing the section on the laboratory work "boring." We regret that we will be unable to publish your work at this time.

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Straggler
Member (Idle past 195 days)
Posts: 10333
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006

 (1)
 Message 45 of 304 (499974) 02-21-2009 5:50 PM Reply to: Message 1 by RAZD02-20-2009 8:46 PM

A B C - Blah Blah Blah
The argument usually goes something like this:
1. If you believe in something without evidence, then you should believe in any other thing without evidence.
2. There is no evidence for invisible pink unicorns.
∴ therefore, you should believe in invisible unicorns or admit that you cannot believe in something without evidence.
As a counter example we can propose alien life in the universe:
1. If you believe in something without evidence, then you should believe in any other thing without evidence.
2. There is no evidence for alien life elsewhere in the universe.
∴ therefore, you should believe in alien life elsewhere in the universe or admit that you cannot believe in something without evidence.
Curiously, this does not seem as absurd as the belief in invisible pink unicorns, in fact it seems quite possible - even if it may never be possible to prove that alien life exists.
THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A COMPLETE ABSENCE OF EVIDENCE.
The whole premise of the dilemma you propose is flawed.
To suggest that the existence of the Invisible Pink Unicorn and the existence of alien life elsewhere in the universe are entirely equal in all but preconceived world view is just utter bollocks.
We know humans can, and do, invent entirely fictional entities for both rational and irrational purposes.
We also know that the universe is full of planets that can potentially support life.
THESE ARE BOTH ELEMENTS OF OBJECTIVE EVIDENCE THAT ARE WHOLLY RELEVANT TO THE CLAIM IN QUESTION AND WHICH HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH WORLD VIEW.
There is no such thing as a vacuum of evidence.
You can A - B - C - D yourslf to death but until you consider ALL of the evidence relevant to such claims you will be logically forced to conclude that a host of silly possibilities such as the existence of the IPU are no more or less likely than the existence of other quite obviously sensible conclusions.
And frankly that just makes you look silly.
Edited by Straggler, : Spelling and formatting.

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